DUBUQUE, Iowa -- Top-ranked Wartburg team won its second consecutive NCAA Regional championship with 157 team points. Senior Kenny Anderson was named the tournament's outstanding wrestler.
Anderson avenged his loss against Jimmy Gotto at the Iowa Conference Championship dual with his win in the semifinals. He later avenged his loss against Evan Obert with a 6-3 decision to defend his regional title.
"I think the pressure was more on [my opponents] as they knew I was hungry in those rematches," said Anderson. "For me, revenge was motivation."
Anderson returns to the national championships as the two-time defending national champion. "Going into nationals, I know I have a bull's-eye on my back," he said. "This is my last tournament of my career and I will do whatever I can to win the title."
Seniors Gilberto Camacho, Anderson, Cole Welter and Landon Williams defend their regional title. Welter wrestled at 157 and Williams at 165 last year. Senior Ryan Fank won the rematch of the regional title final against Loras' James Buss.
"Our goal today was to have every guy qualify for the National Championships," head coach Eric Keller said. "I am real proud of how everyone did and in no way disappointed we didn't get all ten guys in.
"[Today] is the best we've wrestled all season from top to bottom in our lineup," he continued. "Even with the regional title, all of the guys are still hungry and know they need to improve on some things for nationals."
Keller saw the old Anderson in action in his matches today.
"Kenny thrives under pressure and he wrestled like the old Kenny today," Keller said.
Anderson returned to the lineup second semester and has battled some injuries in his return.
Freshman Connor Campo won his first regional title with his 3-1 decision in overtime.
"You'd never realize Campo is a freshman by how he approaches everything," Keller said. "He's poised in his approach and focused."
Puna Soriano repeated as regional runner-up.